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Learn About Mohawk Hardwood

Learn more about the different qualities of hardwood.

Taniya’s Hardwood Tips

Taniya Nayak
HGTV Designer


Durability That Lasts

An important consideration in selecting the right hardwood for your space is its strength or hardness. When it comes to performance, you want a floor that can hold up to every day wear and tear and still look as good as it did day one. Rollover the options below to compare Janka Hardness Scale ratings.

The Janka Hardness Scale measures the force required to embed a .444-inch steel ball to half its diameter in wood. It is one of the best measures of the ability of a wood species to withstand denting and wear, as well as how hard or easy a species is to saw or nail.

  • Cherry

    Cherry’s distinctive reddish glow deepens as it is polished, which made it a favorite for early American furniture.

    • Janka Hardness Scale — 950
    • Photosensitivity — 7
    • Color Shade Variation — Medium / Low
  • Walnut

    Typically a darker wood, walnut is rich, dramatic and has spectacular graining.

    • Janka Hardness Scale — 1010
    • Photosensitivity — 2
    • Color Shade Variation — Medium / High
  • Oak

    The most commonly used hardwood, oak, offers traditional style, great wear and lots of character.

    • Janka Hardness Scale — 1290
    • Photosensitivity — Stable
    • Color Shade Variation — High
  • Maple

    The clean, upscale look of maple is a favorite in contemporary design.

    • Janka Hardness Scale — 1500
    • Photosensitivity — 2
    • Color Shade Variation — Medium / High
  • Hickory

    The hardest commercially available hardwood, hickory is extremely durable.

    • Janka Hardness Scale — 1820
    • Photosensitivity — 3
    • Color Shade Variation — Medium / High


Know The Effects Of Light

Photosensitivity is the degree in which all wood species change in color due to exposure to natural sunlight or UV light.

This photosensitivity chart ranks wood species from 1 (“stable”) to 10 in terms of the effect light will have on color change or fade. A product that is “stable” is less likely to alter in color with exposure to light (high resistance). A product that has a rating of 10 will result in a more dramatic change in color with exposure to light (low resistance).

Grading Quality

Understanding Appearance

Refined Class is the very best hardwood flooring grade which has the most uniform color, longer lengths, virtually no blemishes or knots.

Traditional Class can start to show the natural character such as lighter and darker boards, may have shorter board lengths, infrequent knots, mineral and other character marks possible.

Vintage Class boards show a lot of natural color variation such as light and dark boards, large knots and more frequent character marks than Traditional Class.

Character Class boards offer the most natural color variation and more character marks and visually distinct with knots, larger filled knots and the most mineral marks.


Solid vs. Engineered

On the surface (no pun intended), both solid wood floors and engineered wood floors display gorgeous striations and natural variation. However, their respective structural differences make for specific home applications. The two biggest factors to help determine which type of hardwood planks will work best are location within your home and the type of subfloor.

Solid Hardwood Floors:
  • are one solid piece of wood and are generally 3/4" thick
  • are produced from the finest domestic and exotic hardwood floors and are available in several widths
  • can generally be recoated and refinished several times
  • are more susceptible to humidity and temperature changes
  • should only be installed above grade over approved wooden subfloors and must be nailed or stapled down
Engineered Hardwood Floors:
  • have cross-ply construction which reduces the expansion/ contraction of planks caused by variations in humidity
  • are produced from the finest domestic and exotic hardwood floors and are available in several widths
  • are available in plank and longstrip format, in a wide variety of widths, thicknesses and colors in both North American and Exotic hardwoods
  • can be installed on any level in the home
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